Monday, October 28, 2013

What? New milestone that mothers and fathers: when the cell phone is first used

What? New milestone that mothers and fathers: when the cell phone is first used
Nearly two in five babies have used a mobile phone or tablet - before they can even speak full sentences, new research has found.

A survey has found that 38 per cent of children aged under two have used gadgets like iPhones or Kindles for playing games or watching films.

In 2011 the same figure was just 10 per cent.

The researchers said that the findings showed a ‘fundamental change in the way kids consume media’.

They should also serve as a wake-up call to parents who increasingly turn to gadgets to entertain their children - but could be doing them harm.

The current recommendation from the American Academy of Paediatrics is that the under-twos should have no screen time at all.

Jim Steyer, director of U.S. pressure group Common Sense Media, which commissioned the survey, said: ‘Kids that cannot even talk will walk up to a TV screen and try to swipe it like an iPad or an iPhone.’

The survey results showed the speed at which mobiles and other gadgets are becoming a fact of life, even for babies, when they were compared to a similar study that was carried out in 2011 by Common Sense Media.

Back then, 38 per cent of under-eights had used a phone or a Kindle. Now that same statistic applies to the under-twos.

In 2011 the amount of time the under-eights spent on their phones or tablets was just five minutes a day.

The figure for this year is 15 minutes, on average.

The study, called ‘Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, 2013’ was based on a national survey of 1,463 parents with children under eight.

Vicky Rideout, the author of the report and the similar one released in 2011, said: ‘I was blown away by the rapidity of the change.

‘iPhones and tablets are game changers, because they are so easy to use.

Among the other findings were that children now typically spend an hour a day in front of screens, though that covers everything from watching TV to using computers and watching films.

Children aged two to four average two hours a day, and those aged five to eight averaged two hours and 20 minutes.

But despite the rise in the use of gadgets, TV still is the dominant media that children consume.

Almost 100 per cent of children under eight have a TV and cable.

Thirty per cent have the Internet with their TVs meaning they can watch films on demand.

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